Teacher chains herself to fence in protest outside Derek Chauvin trial

Kaia Hirt said she was protesting to urge police reforms and show support for the families of those who have been killed by the police

Akshita Jain
Wednesday 31 March 2021 09:22 BST
Protesters march following first day of witness testimony in Chauvin trial

A high school teacher chained herself to a metal fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday to demand police reforms as the Derek Chauvin trial continued inside.

Mr Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May last year. He is accused of pinning Floyd to the pavement for what prosecutors said was nine minutes and 29 seconds. 

Kaia Hirt, a teacher at Champlin Park High School, said she was protesting to show support for the families of those who have been killed by the police. “I’m frustrated by local and state officials’ failure to address racist policing in the community,” she said, according to The Star Tribune

Ms Hirt wore a “Black Lives Matter” face mask and sat next to a sign that urged officials to meet with the families affected by police violence. 

She told The New York Times that she has seen police officers mistreat young people, especially those with mental health challenges. 

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Part of a group called “Good Trouble for Justice”, Ms Hirt said that another member will take her place when she returns to work. She took two unpaid days off to protest outside the Hennepin County Government Center. 

Floyd’s killing sparked massive protests and a reckoning over racism and police brutality across the US. Protesters also marched on the first day of the trial with Floyd’s relatives and lawyers kneeling in protest outside the courthouse. 

Protesters have also placed signs across Minneapolis to honour Floyd and others killed by police violence. 

After court proceedings on Monday, demonstrators gathered at Hennepin County Government Center and marched through the streets of Minneapolis, calling for Mr Chauvin to be convicted. The demonstrators told CBS station WCCO that they also want the police to be held accountable. 

Some protesters fastened padlocks, bearing the names of people killed by police, on the fencing around the centre. 

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